Margaret E. Robertson, 50, Headmistress, lived in the mistress’ house with Helen, 53, her sister, who lived off private means, and Archibald, 23, her nephew who was a civil servant for His Majesty’s Government. Margaret was born in Dawlish, Devon whilst Helen, came from Sywell, a village about six miles north east of Northampton and Archibald hailed from Durham City. Jacqueline Cooper1 describes Miss Robertson as “a wonderful head”. In 1900 the first girls went to University and Miss Robertson “developed the sporting side with a gym, playing fields and swimming baths as well as a chapel.”
Emily Bugby, 20, from Irthlingboro again in Northamptonshire, was the parlour maid and Emma Smith, 31, from Cambridge, was the cook in the mistress’ house.
Miss Robertson had been the headmistress at least since 1894 and continued until at least 1917. Previously she had been an assistant teacher at Bedford High School, now called Bedford Girls’ School, having been merged with Dame Alice Harper School. Both Bedford schools were founded in 1882 by the legacy of Sir William Harpur.
Assistant Mistresses’ House
In the assistant mistressess’ house lived the following teaching staff:
- Harriet Emily Jukes, 40, was a drawing mistress. She came from Stroud, Gloucestershire and had been a mistress at the school in 1901. In 1891 she was a governess at a local school in Stroud, living with Sarah O.,58, her widowed mother and her older sister, Josephine O. who was also a governess.
- Margaret Alice (Alison) Walker, 53, born in Sunderland who was an assistant mistress. In the previous three censuses Margaret had been teaching at the Clergy Daughters’ School, Great George Street, Bristol, in 1881 with head mistress Elizabeth M Lawton, 29, 6 other staff, 58 girls and 6 domestic staff; in 1891 with head mistress Alice Jane Billing, 47, 10 other staff, 79 scholars and 10 domestic staff; and in 1901 with head mistress, Margaret Kitching, B.A., 29, with 13 other staff, 95 pupils and 13 domestic staff. Why Margaret Walker should move when she had been there so long and the school seemed to be thriving, one can only conjecture.
- Maria Vaughan Irons, 31, from Birmingham, was an assistant mistress. In 1901 Maria was lodging at the post office in West Hoathly about 8 miles South-East of Crawley, Sussex. No indication of her profession or trade was given.
- Georgia (Georgiana) Luce, 28, from Jersey was an assistant mistress. Her father, Edward, was a Clerk in Holy Orders, (Church of England). In 1901 they lived at The Rectory, St. Saviour’s Main Road, St. Saviour, Jersey, with Georgia’s mother, Catherine, and three younger daughters, the youngest of whom was named Emeline after Edward’s sister-in-law, Emeline Le Montais who lived with them. In 1891 they lived at The Rectory, Falaize Road, St. Mary also in Jersey, with two French servants, Rosalie Jarnet, 39, and Francoise Canee, 16. Edward was the third son of a farmer which is perhaps why he ended up in the clergy!
- Mabel Bathurst, 32, from St. Pancras, London, was an assistant mistress. Her father, Charles L. had been a civil servant mainly in the police service and by 1901 at the age of 56 he was Chief Clerk, in the Metropolitan Police Office, living at 36, West Hill, Lewisham with his wife Kate S., 53, Mabel who was at that time a general teacher at The Girls’ High School and two other daughters, one of whom, Lacey, 21 was a medical student.
- Annie Bruce Armstrong, 44, from Sutton, Surrey, was an assistant mistress. Annie was the daughter of George and Katherine. George had been a wine merchant in 1871.
- Sybil Mary Barker, 29, from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was an assistant mistress.
- Jessie Scott Ferguson, 48, from Coupar Angus on the southern side of the River Isla, midway between Perth and Dundee, in Forfarshire, was an assistant mistress. In 1901 she was living off her own means in a boarding house, Durley Hall, on Chine Road, Bournemouth.
- Minnie Kate Mitchener, 35, from Dulwich, South London, was an assistant mistress.
- Annie Lambert Percival, 27, from Liverpool was an assistant mistress. She was the eldest of two daughters of Alfred and Emma Percival. The rest of the family were living at 6, Judges Drive, Fairfield, Liverpool in 1911 where Alfred, 54 and from Warrington, was a sub-inspector of schools. He had held the same post in West Derby, Lancashire as early as 1891. In 1881 he was a schoolmaster in Toxteth, Liverpool. Alfred’s two older sisters had been schoolmistresses.
There was obviously not enough room for all the mistresses to live on the site as a further seven lived along the road at 80, Fore Street.
Assistant Mistresses’ House Staff
- Minnie Binstead, 25, general servant, from the village of Bengeo, just outside Hertford. In 1901 Minnie had been kitchen maid to Henry Brown Gold, 35, and his family in the village of Waterford, two miles north of Hertford. Henry was Clerk in Holy Orders, (Church of England), presumably at Waterford Church. In 1891 she was living with her parents, George, 38, and Martha, 36, along with two brothers and three sisters at Waterloo Terrace, Bengeo Street, Bengeo. George was a railway servant for Great Northern Railway.
- Frances Badsworth, 31, from Bourne, Lincs, general servant.
- Annie Jeanneth Baldock, 19, general servant, from Reading, Berks. She was the daughter of John Thomas, 46, and Mary Jane Baldock, 39, who were living at 24, Gladstone Road, Ware with seven other children. James, 15, was a shop assistant with the other six children ranging in age from 12 years old down to 8 months! John Thomas was a domestic gardener.
- Emma Sarah Bambridge, 24, the cook. From Dalston, London. In 1901 she had been a domestic servant to Thomas William Leeder and family. Thomas farmed Richmonds Green Farm, Thaxted, Essex. Emma was the daughter of Alfred, an agricultural labourer and Martha.
- Thomas Gisby, 61, hospital porter, from Leigh, Essex. He had been a porter at the school since at least 1891, when he had been living with his wife Fanny (Frances Page), his daughter Jane who was a pupil teacher at the school, his son, Thomas William who was a railway clerk and his second son, Sydney who was a scholar. By 1901 Sydney, 20, was a Solicitor’s Clerk.
Included in the hospital service were the following:
- Eleanor Macdonald, 45, sick home matron, from Roundstone, Co. Galway, a village in Connemara situated on the west coast of Ireland.
- Ada Mary Newman, 32, hospital nurse, from the village of Braughing, Herts. She was the fifth daughter of Frederick and Jane, nee Bush, who were living in The Causeway, Braughing when Ada was born. Frederick was an ironmonger, grocer, draper and outfitter. In 1901 Ada was a domestic nurse living in the household of Arthur, a farmer, and Mildred Clont, in Besthorpe, a mile east of Attleborough, Norfolk. Presumably Ada was looking after Joan, the Clont’s six month old baby. Jane, Ada’s mother, was still working, at the age of 76, as a grocer in Braughing in 1911, like her father before her. Unfortunately Frederick had died in 1908 at the age of 69.
- Marion E. Barnard, 38,hospital nurse, from Lowestoft, Suffolk. Marion was the daughter of Mark, a grocer when marion was born, and Mary E. By 1891 Mark was a builder & contractor as he was in 1901 but by 1911 he had obviously fallen on hard times as he was living in the Great Yarmouth Workhouse. In 1901 Marion was working as a nurse at the Isle of Wight Infirmary, Ryde.
- Caroline E. Baker, 24, sick house cook, from Cheshunt. Caroline was the oldest child of eight of Arthur, 47, a carman and furniture remover, and Caroline, 49.
- Mabel Shambrook, 20, housemaid domestic, from Bengeo, was the daughter of George and Anna Maria. In 1911 Anna Maria, 57, was living in Wellington Street, Hertford and working as a laundress. George had died in 1908 at the age of 58, having been a domestic coachman.
- Emily Lee, 28, married, wardmaid domestic, from Hertford. Emily, nee Bacon, married George Lee in 1910 in Hertford when George was 26. George was a grocer’s assistant living with his parents at 47, Port Hill, Bengeo. Emily was the daughter of William and Elizabeth. in 1891 William, 40, was the licenced victualler of the Gladstone Arms in Castle Street, Hertford. In 1901 Emily was working as a domestic servant for Richard Lydekker, 51, FRS, a naturalist, geologist and writer of numerous books on natural history, at Harpendon Lodge, Luton Road, Harpendon.
John Francis Baxter Sharpe, 65, Steward, from Southwark, London was living with Ella Clara Sharpe, 60, his wife, from The City of London. They had been married 39 years and had four children one of whom, Maud Mary Florence Sharpe, 27, lived with them. Patrick Ramsay Laird, 23, a student H.M. civil servant from Edinburgh was a visitor. Unfortunately John died later in that second quarter of 1911 and was succeeded by William E. Mclean.
John Frances had been the steward since at least in 1881. In 1901 he was living with his wife and one of his sons, Edgar Cecil Sharpe who was an associate of the Institute of Actuaries and Clerk to London Life Association, and born in Tottenham. Maud was then a student and John’s father, also called John, 84 years of age and a retired “Foreyn” fruit merchant, lived with them. Ada Florence Andrews, 17, from Bull’s Mill two miles north of Hertford, had been the cook, and Lucy Elizabeth Taylor, 18, the housemaid from Letty Green, 3 miles west of Hertford.
In 1891 John Frances was living with his wife, his widowed father, his son Harold John Sharpe, 16, born in Tottenham and Edgar then 15. Both Harold and Edgar were students.
In 1881 another son Granville, 3, born in Aldersgate, London, was living with the family. In 1871 John Frances had been living with his family at 9, Montague Villas, West Green Lane, Tottenham and was working as Commercial Master at Christ’s Hospital, presumably in London, whilst his dad was a fruit salesman. In 1861 they had been living in Tottenham and John Frances was described as a commercial teacher, and his father was a fruit merchant, with five other children.
Lily May Phillips, 16, housemaid domestic, Shandy Camp, Cambs.
Jessie Edith Brace, 16, kitchenmaid domestic, from Great Amwell, one and a half miles south-east of Ware. Jessie was one of at least 15 children of Arthur, 43, a bricklayer’s labourer living in London Road, Hertford and Alice, 46, born in Little Amwell. In 1901 he had been a domestic coachman in Great Amwell where he was born. He had been a general labourer in 1891.
John Tasker Tasker-Evans MD, who lived at Upton House, 66, Fore Street, was the school medical officer. He was following in the family tradition as his uncle, Richard John and father, also John Tasker had been the medical officer before him. Thus an Evans had been the medical officer of the school since 1840.
William Dunkin Fenning, M.A., 59, was the chaplain. He lived at 10, Queen’s Road, Hertford with, Katherine Dunkin, 63, his sister and their servants John, 47, and Sarah Dimmock, 45. William had previously been a Classics Schoolmaster and later Clerk in Holy Orders at Haileybury College since at least 1881. The Fennings had been born in Bloomsbury, London.
- Hertford A History by Jacqueline Cooper ISBN 9781860774690.